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Martin Lawrence Photography

Photography locations in the Central Lake District

Posted on 16th April, 2018

INTRODUCTION

Here I am going to share with you what I consider to be some of the very best Photography locations in the Central Lake District. All of these locations can be visited on one of my 1-2-1 or small group bespoke workshops. Why not checkout the  Workshops page for more details.

All of the images can be purchased in the  Lake District Valleys and Tarns Gallery.

Photography locations in the Central Lake District

Image: Clappersgate Bridge

CLAPPERSGATE BRIDGE - (OS grid reference NY 368-033)

HOW TO GET THERE
From Ambleside, take the A593 towards Coniston. Look out for the old packhorse bridge just after the B5286 turning on the left. There is a lay-by just before it where you can pull in and park.

WHAT TO SHOOT
Clappersgate Bridge is an attractive old stone packhorse bridge which lies across the River Brathay. The river is heavily wooded and great for autumn colour shots.

You can take images looking down on it, landscape or portrait, from the footpath that leads down to and across it from the lay-by. Alternatively, you can make your way down to the river bank and take images of the front of the bridge. This is an excellent place to take slow water shots with your Big Stopper as the fast-flowing river gives some great milky shots. In autumn, the colours can be quite spectacular.

Photography locations in the Central Lake District

Image:  Moon Rise over the Langdales

BLEA TARN & BLEA TARN HOUSE - (OS grid reference NY 293-044)

HOW TO GET THERE
From Ambleside, take the A593 towards Coniston. At Skelwith Bridge, turn on to the B5343 and go straight past Elterwater along Great Langdale valley to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Turn left here along the single track, steep and narrow road which leads to Little Langdale passing Blea Tarn along the way. There’s a NT pay and display car park on the left from where a footpath leads to the tarn.

WHAT TO SHOOT
Blea Tarn is in a beautiful setting with a dramatic backdrop of the Langdale Pikes . The tarn is located at top of the pass between Great Langdale and Little Langdale.

The surrounding fells make it best to shoot the tarn just after sunrise or just before sunset. The iconic view is that taken from the south shore of the tarn with either the small fence that runs into the water or the large boulders at the water’s edge in the foreground and the towering Langdale Pikes as a backdrop. There used to be some pretty rhododendrons surrounding the tarn but these have now been cut back to try and check their relentless choking progress. The footpath leads behind the tarn where there are some pretty wooded areas where you can take shots with Side Pike as a back drop. This is a well-photographed location and will be busy in summer.

On the way to the tarn, you will pass a small white cottage called Blea Tarn House, another popular spot. The usual shot here is to climb up beside the small stream which runs up the fell just opposite the cottage until you can gain enough height for a good view of the cottage and the fells behind it. The path will be very wet.

Photography locations in the Central Lake District

Image: Blea Tarn House

Photography locations in the Central Lake District

Image:  Slater Bridge, Little Langdale

SLATER BRIDGE , LITTLE LANGDALE - (OS grid reference NY298-031)

HOW TO GET THERE
From Ambleside take the A593 towards Langdale / Coniston. After approx 3 miles you will come to Skelwith Bridge. Do not take the first right turn which is signed to Langdale, but carry on over the bridge towards Coniston and take the next right in about ¾ mile signed The Langdales, Wrynose Pass and Elterwater. Drop down a tight bend and follow the road to the next junction then turn left (signed Little Langdale) and follow the road for one mile to the Three Shires Inn. Park the car carefully as this is a narrow road and walk the short distance down into the valley on the road marked ‘Tilberthwaite - unsuitable for cars’.  Half way down is the painted wall stone indicating the start of the short footpath to Slater Bridge.

WHAT TO SHOOT
The two part Slater Bridge takes advantage of a central large rock and a very long slate slab to cross the River Brathay on its way from Little Langdale Tarn to Elterwater. This is one of Lakeland’s ancient pedestrian bridges, connecting the hamlet of Little Langdale with the many slate quarries in the Tilberthwaite area. 

Most images are taken from the downstream side with Lingmoor Fell providing a fitting backdrop to this idyllic Lakeland scene.  There are some rocky outcrops in the middle of the river which mean that you can get right down in the water to take your slow ‘milky’ shots. (I’ve got wet feet here on more than one occasion so be careful). In summer, the ferns growing amongst the slate provide some attractive foliage. The main problem you’ll have here is that this seems to be a popular ‘butty’ stop for walking parties who like to sit on the bridge to eat their lunch.  You’ll need to be quick to get your shot in between one group leaving and another arriving.

Photography locations in the Central Lake District

Image: Elterwater and the Langdales Rainbow

ELTERWATER - (OS grid reference NY 328-047)

HOW TO GET THERE
From Ambleside, take the A593 towards Coniston. At Skelwith Bridge, turn on to the B5343 to Elterwater. There is a National Trust car park at Elterwater village on the left just past the Brittania Inn.

WHAT TO SHOOT

Elterwater’s name comes from the small tarn by which it sits and the Norse word ‘elter’ meaning swan. The village is nestled amidst the imposing mountains of the Langdale Valley.

On your way into the village, you can get some good shots from the main road down onto the village itself. These are particularly good, if the local residents have lit coal fires in the colder months and the smoke is rising into the air from their chimneys.  In the village itself, the Brittania Inn is the quintessential English Lakeland Inn. The white-washed building is over 400 years old.

Leading out of the NT car park, is a public footpath that takes you down alongside the River Brathay to Elterwater Tarn. There are good images both alongside the river bank and from the tarn itself which is surrounded by reeds and has a great backdrop of the Langdale Pikes. There is usually a swan or two floating about to add to its charm. If you continue a little further along the path, it will lead you alongside the river to Skelwith Force waterfall where you can often find Canoeists trying out their hand along this fast moving stretch of the river.

Photography locations in the Central Lake District

Image: Loughrigg Tarn

LOUGHRIGG TARN - (OS Grid Reference NY 343-041)

HOW TO GET THERE
There are two ways to the tarn. Firstly, from Ambleside you can take the A593 Coniston road, go through Clappersgate and after about 2 miles take the first turn on the right. Alternatively, from Grasmere take the small road by the garden centre that passes behind Grasmere Lake. You will eventually pass Loughrigg tarn on your left. There is parking for a couple of cars just by the footpath that leads around the tarn.

WHAT TO SHOOT
Loughrigg Tarn, a tarn of outstanding beauty set amongst attractive rolling wooded fells, is one of Lakeland’s hidden treasures.

There is a great view across the tarn to Loughrigg Fold with Loughrigg Fell as a backdrop from a gate in the wall just a little further along the road. If you return to your car, you can then take the footpath that leads down to and around the tarn itself. The tarn is covered in attractive yellow water lilies in the summer which make for a great lead in to a shot with the Langdale Pikes in the background.

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